Chaos

October 25, 2020 - Chaos (Paricia Cornwell). Chaos (Patricia Cornwell). This is the 24th and, so far, the last book in the author's Kay Scarpetta series. It came out in 2016. I bought the paperback version a year later and it's taken me until now to get around to reading it.

The 464-page novel is set in Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to Scarpetta's tricked-out Cambridge Forensic Center, also known as the CFC. The action begins in early September and mostly takes place within an oppressively hot 24-hours during which many things are happening at once but no one wants to tell Scarpetta exactly what they are.

What we do know is that, within the past week, Scarpetta has been getting disturbing voicemail messages from someone calling himself Tailend Charlie, and this person seems to know an awful lot about Scarpetta's life. Then, more odd things happen: a 911 call that claims Scarpetta was being abusive to a staffer in public; bogus phone calls that seem to be from Interpol; she can't even enjoy a quiet dinner with her FBI profiler husband before being called away to investigate a mysterious death. And, to top it all off, Scarpetta's antagonistic sister is coming to town for a visit.

What follows is, again, page after page of Scarpetta's inner monologue with occasional interruptions for conversations with other characters. Some of the monologue fills in background information, but a lot of it is self-pitying stream-of-consciousness about why Scarpetta and those close to her can't or won't tell each other the truth.

So, how does it all turn out? Since the book has been out for a while, I don't think I'll be giving away any spoilers if I say that Scarpetta's nemesis, Carrie Grethen, finally gets caught and locked up (presumably in someplace that she can't escape from), which allows Scarpetta to finally find some peace. Will it last? That's for Cornwell to decide.